tv Piers Morgan Tonight CNN June 25, 2011 12:00am-1:00am EDT
it's me? alright emma, i know it's not your favorite but it's time for your medicine, okay? you ready? one, two, three. [ both ] ♪ emma, emma bo-bemma ♪ banana-fana-fo-femma ♪ fee-fi-fo-femma ♪ em-ma very good sweety, how do you feel? good. yeah? you did a really good job, okay? let's go back to drawing. tonight, a story hollywood couldn't dream up. father and daughter, ryan and tatum o'neal, nobody would call their story happily after ever. at least not yet. drug, scandals, and trouble with the law.
>> your brother said that your father gave him drugs when he was, i think, 11. did he do that to you? >> you'll have to ask him. >> tonight, it's ryan o'neal's turn. >> this is not true. 11 years old, 9 years old. crazy? why would she say something about her like that? i never saw her do a drug or smoke or do anything like that and i saw her every day. >> ryan o'neal for the hour. this is piers morgan tonight. ryan o'neal's latest project is ryan and tatum o'neal. it premiers on sundays. i've got to thank you because i would say most of the last 46 of my useless years of life, whenever i've needed to succeed with a woman, my tactic has normally been to put love story in the dvd or the video
cassette, whatever it may have been at the time, and to sit back and let you work your magic. because no woman could resist a man after they've watched that. >> you've softened them up. >> to me it was like the ultimate weepy, the greatest of the genre. >> i would try that, only i ended up crying and that took away -- >> when was the last time? >> last night. no. i haven't seen it in a long time. it upsets me, actual zee why? >> well, it's -- i lost farrah to cancer and i just wonder how that all played out that way for me. one was such a big deal and so successful and then in real life it was just the opposite. it was just tragedy. >> when you look back at your life, i've watched a few of the
episodes, it's a fascinating thing to watch because i've been to tatum, she's nearly my age, one year older than me. >> is that true? >> yeah. >> i could have had you? >> we could explore this possibility. you said you were in london a lot actually. >> it's not possible. i would have taken you home. >> well, what was interesting, i think, is that the o'neil's, both you and her, have been in my house for the last 40 years. you're such famous people, not just the movies you've made, the father and daughter relationship, the scandals, the ups, the downs, the tragedy, the other thing. she said one very interesting thing to me, that it's always been like for her in the family like being an observer, like soap opera, that you're not real people, and that the fame thing became so big that you couldn't have real relationships. >> maybe.
i don't know. that sounds kind of complicated to me. what happens is that the more success you garner, the busier you are, the choices you have, the jobs that are offered, that take you around the world, and that can create a kind of chaos in the home front. it certainly did in our house. >> it's a very honest appraisal because the impression i got from tatum is that everybody wants to play out the tatum hates her dad story line. actually, in many ways you save her from the life from her mother, who was very dysfunctional and had issues herself and that life with you was a better option for her, however chaotic it was. >> i had taken her mother to court and tried to get legal custody of the children because they were struggling on the ranch. they lived on a ranch, sort of a ranch.
and i lost. the judge said, give her another chance. and it was just -- so then she came to me -- mom came to me, joanna moore, a very fine actress. i learned a lot from her. and she adored her kids. but she did have -- she did struggle. and we made a deal that i could help her with her problems financially if -- but she'd have to sign the children over to me. and i made a deal that we could go -- that we could put them in a school out of state so that i wasn't going to give them more influence than she had and that i wouldn't take the child support payments away. they would continue with mom. i made all of those -- i made that agreement and then off they went to a school in arizona called tree haven. which had horses and, you know, i thought it might really be wonderful. and for the younger boy,
griffin, it was. he joined in in immediately and got involved and tatum struggled. >> when you look back, if you were your own biggest critic here, what would you say you were like as a father? >> great. hands on. great? no. not great. that's funny. hands on. >> really? >> yes. hands on. i was always strangling. i found it really hard because i was always -- there was never -- the mother and the father -- it was just the father playing both parts and i was, you know, only just -- >> it's tough what people think. >> oh, boy, you know. you must know. and especially if they win academy awards at the age of 9. >> if you had your chance again with tatum, because obviously
she's an incredibly gifted young actress, she did win an academy award and propelled her to a new level of fame, given you a parent that was in the business, would you shut that door? would you not push here into it? she made it clear that she felt she had been pushed into it by you. >> pushed into -- >> into acting. >> well, wait a second. i had a friend who was a director. had he read a script and he called me and he asked me about tatum. and i said, oh, i just got her into a new school in arizona and it's struggling there and he said, i have something that you should read, a story, a movie. this is a very fine director and he had -- he wanted to see tatum. he didn't want to hire her yet. he just wanted to see her. i said, well, she's in arizona. he said, bring her here for a day. we were driving towards home where he's waiting and i said, now, you want to be in a movie
with your dad and convince this guy? she said, i'll try. and the rest is history. >> it's history that you were controlling, i guess is the point that i am making. i understand completely how you tell the story, why you did this, you felt it was a good escape route for her. she clearly now, for whatever reason -- by the way, she was a lot less critical of you that i thought she would be. >> she may have known that i was in the next room. >> well, she's warming up to -- >> let me play a clip from the interview that i just did with her. >> i have seen the dark side like that because i have gone to hell and back and i did almost die and i did shoot cocaine and i did lose my kids and i did get them back and i put all of our family through a lot of hell. and i feel like how lucky am i
that i can sit here and be in a good place and talk to you and talk to my dad and have him maybe get to know me now, not a junkie and not dead and maybe he'll be proud of me. and maybe not, you know. maybe he won't love the tatum that i am today. but i hope so. >> that's your idea of -- that's your idea of a compliment? he may like me, he may not like me, i don't know. >> i thought it was quite honest of her that she wasn't sure. >> oh, she's honest. but it's her version of it. >> i didn't think she was being overly critical of you. >> oh, she has been. years and years of it. >> well not then. >> bless her heart. >> has it not been quite tough for her? >> i'm sorry? >> aren't you being quite tough on her in reaction to, i hope eats proud of me, i'm not sure he will be? >> why wouldn't i be, the girl that she's describing? what man wouldn't be with all of these sacrifices and growth and wants me to respect her, to love
her. >> do you? >> yeah. i do. she's hard. she's a beauty. she's a great beauty and there are times in which she's magnificent but she has made my life hard, hard. and farrah's, hard. because i was never complete again when she left. it wouldn't matter who or why or what. i could not get her out of my mind. she was always there. i want to add something else. or something early on. and that is, we had stopped making movies after paper moon. she had. she was exhausted. and she kept saying the $60,000 that she had and she was going
to use that money to buy this ranch. and i said, what $60,000? she said, for the movie. i said, 6. not 60. 6. she said, but i won the academy. and i said, i know. it's not the first movie that's the success, it's the next couple. so we kept driving along and she said, maybe i should do a second movie? one week later we got the script -- i got the script of "bad news bears," about a little 13-year-old pitcher. she had a great arm, by the way. she could throw it 60 yards. and they offered so much money. i really had to consider it. it kept going up because i kept saying no, trying to keep her in this life. and when they started to get to a gross position, i wondered if years from now if she would turn on me for not letting her be in
that movie. >> let's hold it there, take a short break, and discuss what happened after that. because this is fascinating. [ male announcer ] this...is the network -- a network of possibilities. in here, the planned combination of at&t and t-mobile would deliver our next generation mobile broadband experience to 55 million more americans, many in small towns and rural communities, giving them a new choice. we'll deliver better service, with thousands of new cell sites... for greater access to all the things you want, whenever you want them. it's the at&t network... and what's possible in here is almost impossible to say.
life is never quite the same again. you yourself at the time have been propelled into the stratosphere after "love story." you were second to clint eastwood during that period. an amazing thing. she sat here and -- >> make my day. >> yeah, exactly. and "love story" was just iconic for all of you, a crazy period. when you look back at what happened, when did you start to see things just go wrong, do you think? >> tatum and i were enormously close, perhaps too close. i can't say it was unhealthy because i didn't feel unhealthy about it. but we went everywhere together. we were in one room for days. it's just the way it was.
>> she said that you're an incurable romantic. >> whatever that is. i am. so we had a blood tie. it was hard on me. it was harder and harder and harder. she was possessive. she was strangling me. she was strangling me. and then all of a sudden out of the mist came this blond woman that she introduced me to. tatum introduced me to. she said, my dad is here visiting me and we had been friends years before, before he knew farrah, but we weren't friends anymore. we had fought over a girl. and she said, my dad is here. why don't you call him? and he did. he called me in my room and i went and had a drink with him and it was fine to see him again and he said, when are you leaving? he said tomorrow and i said some am i.
he said come home and have dinner with me and farrah. i have a racquet ball court and we can play. i went, flew home with him, took me up to the house, my god, an extraordinary racquet ball court and an extraordinary wife, breathtaking, and so sweet and loving and -- but she didn't love him. i could see that. first day i could see that. that was over. something strange had happened and it was dead. too bad for him, i thought, and i went back a couple of more times but it wasn't -- >> you felt too bad for him but good for me, right? >> not yet. not yet. not yet. but he kept calling me back up to play because he only lived a few blocks from me, and i went
twice more and he said, let's have a party. i'm going up to do a movie with robert. let's have a party. and at the party he said, you know, farrah, she's going to be lonely with me gone. take her out. take her places. take her out. i had played some music for them by ry cooter, a blues guitarist. he left and he went on vacation and i didn't call her, weeks went by and i didn't call her. but i saw that ry was in town, the los angeles civic. and i called her and i asked him to come see it with me and she did. and that was it. we never were out of each other's sight for about 17 more years. >> and she was the love of your life? >> oh, yeah. without a doubt. blinded by it.
>> for tatum, she's now a 15-year-old girl -- >> yeah. >> she's a young, very beautiful blond girl -- >> in the beginning, though, she was still? toronto. so i had a little head start. i was going to need it because i knew that she was going to be coming home and that there would be -- i didn't know what there would be. i didn't exactly know. >> she said to me she felt a sense of abandonment and i got the feeling that there was a jealousy there. you had a young beautiful blond that wasn't her taking over your interests. >> yeah. but what do you do when you're in that spot? i didn't do it right. i know that. >> what do you regret? >> well, i was getting pulled. farrah didn't pull. farrah was actually hopeful that tatum and i would at least have some kind of a peace. but there wasn't. it wasn't to be. it wasn't to be. >> she didn't blame farrah at
all. she blamed you. but i got the sense it was because she's a young teenage beautiful blond herself and suddenly the light of her life, her dad, and you already said how close you were -- >> yeah. >> -- suddenly had somebody else. >> yeah. >> and that was, to her, the fracturing moment because she thought she had lost you. >> and eventually she did, because she was not supportive. she was cruel. she wanted it to go down. she did not see it as a love affair. she did not see it like i saw it. she didn't help me. i needed help. >> she was very young, though, wasn't she? >> she was a blond 15 a minute ago. >> a young blond. >> listen, at 15, tatum was like a crack a whip she was so smart. believe me. >> but enough to provide you with the moral support that you were hoping for? >> i started to feel like i
should keep them apart because tatum would say things like, has he beaten you yet? i realize that she was going to try to take it out her own way. her mother worked a little like this, too. oh, my god, she's her mother's daughter. she's a scorpio like her mother. she wasn't done until it had failed. and the longer -- the stronger that farrah and i got, the weaker tatum and i got. i saw it and i didn't know what to do. >> had you had your time again, what would you do differently to try and resolve it? >> i would have done something differently because i hate how it went. >> it must have broken your heart. >> absolutely. >> i couldn't think of anything worse. you have this relationship with your daughter and bang, it's all gone.
>> it was all gone. and i used to hang on the thread -- i remember when she got pregnant and she was going to have a baby and when she has her baby and sees what it's like to be a mother and loves her baby and then she'll know how much i love her, it will be clear to her. she will also see how hard it is to raise a baby and she knows that i raised her single handedly, so from infancy, she knows. she will take stock. >> and she never did? >> she never did. let's take a short break. i want to talk to you about farrah in more detail and the tragedy, really, of the end of her life. ♪ hello sunshine, sweet as you can be ♪ [ female announcer ] wake up to sweetness with honey nut cheerios cereal. kissed with real honey. and the 100% natural whole grain oats can help lower your cholesterol. you are so sweet to me. bee happy. bee healthy.
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and you were right there through the end. and you were together for 30 years up and down, even as you look there, it's incredibly painful. >> i can't look at her. i can't look at her. what bothers me the most is that there was turmoil during my love affair with farrah, a lot of it caused by my family, by my kids, all of them, but particularly tatum. and i just think if she had never met us, would she still be alive today? because nobody knows what causes cancer, do they really? and she didn't smoke and she didn't drink and she didn't exercise every day and she believed in her good health. and then we came along, the four
of us. and gradually she got weaker. i don't know. >> do you really believe that? >> i think it's highly possible. >> the stress of the whole thing? >> because i wasn't able to straighten out the mess that we were in and we sucked her in. >> i mean, it's a harsh thing to say. >> i'm sorry. maybe it isn't true. but it's possible. >> but it's harsh. for tatum to have to hear that would be very harsh. >> i'm sorry, tatum. but you probably know, too. for five years i have stayed, you know, close to the heart and saw that you were healthy and
happy, all of you, and even supported their mothers and now i have met somebody and you're not encouraging me. you don't see it the way i want you to see it. i want you to love her, too, and i want us to be a family. but you have to feel like i do. she was a good woman. she never, ever -- did they ever fight overtly, tatum, or any of my children with her. they adored her. my boys -- i had a sauna bath at the beach and when they heard that farrah would be -- i get them mixed up all the time. i say farrah, tatum. i do. there was a place to hide inside the sauna to wait and maybe see her naked, you see, but she was
always late for her sauna. by the time she got in there, we need to call 911 to get them out because they are completely dehydrated. and i say that because that was the excitement of having farrah around. having farrah around was so thrilling to these boys, but not to tatum. not to tatum. she saw that and she resented that. >> even as you talk about them, there is some kind of interwoven in your emotional life. i get a sense that you have this incredible love for both these women. it couldn't happen at the same time. this was the real great tragedy of the whole thing for you. you couldn't have one and the other in the same way? >> why? >> because one felt very neglected and left out. >> well, because she created a
demon seed and she wasn't -- it wasn't -- it wasn't right that she be around. it wasn't right. she would tear us down, not build us up. >> tatum, to be fair to her, in our interview didn't say anything critical about farrah at all. in fact, she said that before she died she actually did talk to her and she enjoyed that experience. >> right. and farrah told me about it. >> and how did you feel about it? >> it was okay. except farrah said, she blames you. and i said, so that's what you talked about? you're lying here and she's busting me up? blaming me? >> the famous line from "love story," love means never meaning to say you're sorry. did you ever say your sorry? >> i crawled. i crawled. it meant nothing. i didn't even get invited to her wedding.
>> how did that make you feel? >> it was horrible. what an insult. my daughter's getting married and she was given away by one of the mcenroes. another mcenroe. >> hold it there. i want to talk to you about one of my theories of what may have been the real problem. >> i need a theory. [ male announcer ] this...is the network -- a network of possibilities. in here, the planned combination of at&t and t-mobile would deliver our next generation mobile broadband experience to 55 million more americans, many in small towns and rural communities, giving them a new choice. we'll deliver better service, with thousands of new cell sites... for greater access to all the things you want, whenever you want them. it's the at&t network... and what's possible in here is almost impossible to say.
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i interviewed tatum and she sat across from me and seemed pretty fragile and damaged but determined to stay clean now and rebuild whatever she can with her life and particularly with you. there's no doubt that the dominant problem in her life has been drugs. and an ongoing addiction and an increasingly bad one, starting from a very young age. that's not true. that's not true. i don't know why she wants to establish that kind of a -- it's just not true. 11 years old, 9 years old, that's crazy. ill never saw her do a drug, smoke, get drunk, never saw that. and i saw her every day. she didn't want anybody doing
anything. she was always aggressive that way. so why would she paint a picture of herself that she was an 11-year-old addict. that's so stupid. she made five or six movies beyond there, if that were the case. nobody would hire her. it's -- i don't understand it. there's enough that went wrong that you don't need to make things up. >> she said that she -- it had been reported that she had a couple suicide attempts when she was 13. do you believe that? >> uh-huh. one. i know of one. i thought it was faked, to tell you the truth. >> do you still think that? >> uh-huh. i do. >> you're sort of implying that she's sort of a fantasist. >> of course. i'm sorry. honey. >> the moment you were reunited, was it farrah's funeral? >> no. her son had asked her to come to
lunch. we went to malibu at a restaurant, a nice lucky place for us. and she joined us for lunch. we had a wonderful lunch together. >> when was that? >> that was several weeks before the funeral. >> because she tells this story of -- according to her, she hadn't seen you before the funeral and you didn't recognize her? >> i don't know why she does that, why she doesn't tell the truth. because when she was a little girl we used to dance and i would say to her, do you have a dream? do you have a car? and she would say, my boyfriend's here. and i would say, really, who is she? and she would say joe fraser. >> now, we did this a lot. so when she came into my arms and i put the casket in the hearse, turned around and jumped into my arms, do you have a dream, do you have a car?
because that was our thing. and i wanted to tell her that i had never forgotten what touched us but they can make something else out of it and instead of saving me, she let me drown. making me look like i'm trying to make out with someone while my girl is being driven away. why? why you want to make your dad look like that? why? that's what's hard to understand. >> how are you dealing with life without -- >> oh, how do i look? >> you look good but emotionally -- >> oh, it's hard, this stuff. she's determined to undress me,
take my medals. >> tatum? >> yeah. and when i'm stripped of everything, she'll take me back, i think, but i'm not ready to let that happen. my pride is here, too. i want my epileps. >> how are you coping without farrah? >> well, you know, farrah was a very strong presence in my life. so strong she permeated my mind and my being. and she still does. she had that kind of hold on me. because i live in the same house that we lived in together and the things that are nice in my house are the things that she got me. and so i hear songs that we
loved and it stabs me and brings her back and i'm okay with that, that i had somebody. i had somebody that i loved. okay. and i had a son who struggles with his life because he's tempted to join her and she's 26 and he's tempted to go. because he misses her so much and he feels -- he shamed himself so much. and it's tricky, you know. it's crazy. >> what can you say to him? >> i say to him, that's not what she wants. she wants you to have a wonderful life. life. and live it for her. she doesn't want you to join her. and he agrees but i'm not sure he does. he just says he agrees.
i'm sorry. it's all -- none of it has been resolved. it's still all open sores and may always be, whenever we do our show, there has been headway. >> do you feel you've gone anywhere with tatum? do you feel you've gone -- how ever the bad the relationship sounds to the outside world, you all know it's better than five or ten years ago because -- >> we had nothing. >> you have something now. >> we do have something now. >> you are both pretty hurt, i can tell. >> right. we are. but i can take it. >> let's take another break. when i come back, i want to talk to you about movies. the chevy cruze eco offers
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i don't think so. >> why not? >> i don't know. maybe because there's better actors out there now. i was only so-so. i just had wonderful vehicles. >> do you feel like you wasted an opportunity or did you enjoy it brilliantly but in the wrong way after "love story" became this huge hit? >> i did barry lyndon, a powerful experience for me. i was in england for nearly two years making it. and by the way, tatum was with me that whole time. she used to help me get my wigs off at night and the buckle shoes. all of that, we were a team, you see. we were a team. she took the bobby pins out of my hair. >> one thing tatum said to me when she was being critical of you, she said that you have -- let me play a clip. watch this and see what you think, if you agree with it.
>> my dad has that kind of seductive soft, sweet, gentle, loving side. so it's always so confusing when that side isn't always there and you're a little bit off balance because he has a temper side. so that's him. and that's what we all love. and that -- so he isn't all bad. and he isn't all great. but neither are any of us. >> well, the thing that tatum is clear about leaving out, does a man just have a temper or does something trigger the temper? does he make up mad and then -- >> do you think you have a temper? >> well, sure. i think they helped me develop it, too. my children were so wild. they were so wild. how much of that do you blame yourself for? >> well, we have the same
genetic makeup but did i -- was i arrested 40 times? i have a son that's been arrested so many times -- i don't mean redmond but there's another guy. just look up the log. and it's stunning. griffin, it's stunning what he has done. >> do you have any relationship with him? >> no. no. i've never been more relieved. sorry to say. >> he's rain shower flesh and blood. he is your flesh and blood. >> i don't know. i'm going to get a dna. i don't know, really. no, i don't even want to talk about it. my kids were wild. that includes tatum. she was, too. but was she a drug user? no. no. the only time i ever found out about drugs was that she -- i had a home up in big sur, california. i was up there with a couple of buddies. and she said, can carey and i join you? we're not doing anything. what are you doing up there? can we join you? can we take the dog with you?
can we come up? i said sure, there's room. and they started up pacific coast highway and they crashed. tatum was thrown out of the car. scraped up on the highway. and they called me from the hospital. and i sent a limo to pick them up and take them up to big sur. she was marked up. it was not pretty. and a year later she told me that she had taken a qualude and so had the driver. she wasn't even driving. they had no seat belts on. a qualude? you took a qualude and then you drove? >> did you go to the hospital after that? >> no. i had a limo right there -- it was in ventura county. grab the limo and go straight up to us. >> yeah. but you didn't go. >> no. i had the limo pick them up because that could be much faster. i had a 400 mile drive go down and get it. so i had a limo bring them up and bring her up. i took a look at both of them and i said, we have to go home.
we got on a plane and we flew right back to l.a. and started getting her skin grafting. she was ripped hard. >> i mean, there's no doubt from my interview that she certainly infers -- and griffin has said this -- that you provided or allowed drugs to be around them from a young age, 11, 12. >> that's true. >> not around them. not around them. >> listen to what she says. >> don't let me listen to griffin. because he tells stories. >> no. this is tatum. >> your brother said that your father gave him drugs when he was i think 11. did he do that to you? >> you'll have to ask him. >> why are you reluctant to say? >> because we have a show we're doing. and i just don't want to say incriminating things that are going to make it harder to kind of make peace and have appealing. every time i kind of bring up the bad stuff, it just doesn't
go towards making a healing and getting us to a better place. i know for sure my dad made a lot of mistakes. i am sure that he's living with them today. >> now, she's been saying that for 25 years. she can't stop saying it. now why? why does she do that? it's because she needs a reason for why she collapsed, why her career, her marriage, her children, they all went south. now, why did that happen? oh, because i had a terrible childhood. she had a wonderful childhood. she met queen elizabeth. she traveled the world. she was a millionaire es by the time she was 12. >> does that make you -- >> but it doesn't hurt, okay? >> doesn't it? >> it doesn't hurt, no. >> can it? >> she had a career. she had a picture anytime she wanted it. she had everything she wanted. she danced with michael jackson. he called every night. she was a happy camper, okay? >> you said just before we watched the clip there that there were drugs around when they were young. >> well, there were. it was malibu. it was a beach. people smoked an went swimming
and went surfing. and there was marijuana. there was. >> could they have been taken without you knowing? >> they could have been taken in, yes. oh, sure. and griffin was. not tatum. that's what bauers me about this. she's not being honest. >> you did give them to griffin? >> no. no, no, no. but he had access. >> right. take a final break. when we come back i want to talk to you about your future. what do you think is going to happen to ryan o'neal going forward? >> does something have to happen to him? anananananannouncer ] this...is the network. a living, breathing intelligence that's helping drive the future of business. in here, inventory can be taught to learn. ♪ machines have a voice. ♪ medical history follows you. it's the at&t network -- a network of possibilities... committed to delivering the most advanced mobile broadband experience
ryan o'neal. it's been an extraordinary hour with you. >> thank you. >> i'd like to try to end it on an upbeat note for you. how do you see the future now? >> oh, the future? i don't know. i don't know. the future is -- >> do you feel positive about it? >> yeah. i think the show will be effective. and i'll tell you why. i think there are people out there watching that may have a -- well, this will ring a bell. and perhaps even open eyes and
turn their relationships around. perhaps. and that would be a huge benefit. and i would take great pride in that. and i would go on with it and i'd keep going. i'd keep going with tatum until we've locked it down. because i think that's what you have to do with people you love. >> do you think you can? >> uh-huh. i do. i have to. i'm out of options. this is it. >> what's the thing you've learned most about yourself from making this show? >> from making the show? >> yeah. >> i'm a work in progress. which is a little sad at the age of 70. but i have a ways to go. >> i'm going to say, you look great for 70. there are lots of positives here. >> it's the makeup. and i want to live a good life and be representative of people